On Wednesday May 16, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra came to Rodef Shalom for their Second Annual Music for the Spirit Concert. It marked the first time that the PSO (accompanied by the Mendelsohn Choir) had ever played in a synagogue. The event was a triumph, bringing together a wonderfully diverse cross section of our community to share in a program of classical music rooted in the Jewish tradition.
The history of the program dates back to January 17, 2004, when the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra became the first American orchestra to perform at the Vatican for a pope. The concert celebrated the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s papacy and honored the Pope’s lifelong commitment to interfaith understanding and reconciliation of the Christians, Jews and Muslims. That unprecedented opportunity remains one of the most significant events in the PSO’s history and demonstrated the power of music to promote dialogue across religious traditions.
From that great beginning, a partnership has developed between the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the faith communities in Pittsburgh to continue performing concerts that celebrate the spiritual and universal message of music, thus Music for the Spirit was created. PSO Music Director Manfred Honeck is deeply committed to and excited about Music for the Spirit.
I wanted to share with you the remarks I shared with the attendees on this wonderful evening. I hope you will enjoy reading on and reflecting on our night with the orchestra...